Essential conservation work on world famous paintings, including the equestrian portrait of Charles I in the National Gallery in London, in which Anthony Van Dyck transformed the diminutive monarch into a heroic emblem of power on a magnificent horse, will be used to train a new generation on how to prolong the life of historic canvases, through grants from the Getty Foundation in California.

The foundation is worried that the traditional skills of repairing or re-lining canvases, mending tears and preserving cracking or peeling paint, are being lost as a generation of conservators retires. The grants are intended to spread the understanding of how to conserve these works between institutions and countries.

“For years museum conservators have adopted a ‘wait and monitor’ approach to any major structural intervention on canvas paintings,” Antoine Wilmering, a conservation expert at the Getty, said. “But the danger is that once treatment can no longer be delayed, the experts with direct knowledge of lining and re-lining won’t be there to offer help.” Read more